|Hippos fighting in the Chobe River: 329mm @ 1/1600|
In the past I have done a lot of wildlife photogarphy with the Canon 7D Mark I and a Canon 100-400 L which is also a great combination but I really wanted more reach (and a camera upgrade), plus the stabilisation is better in the Tamron.
There were a few times this trip where 150mm on a crop sensor was too long to even get a portrait/head shot of an animal close to the car. Times like these having 100mm or even 70mm would have been handy but I think I gained more shots by having the extra length that what I missed.
SettingsI have a custom setting on my camera that I can quickly switch to and have a reasonable set-up for shooting a wide variety wildlife, leaning a little towards moving wildlife because if is it sitting still you can change the settings later.
- Mode: Manual (with auto ISO)
- Shutter speed: 1/800
- Aperture: f/8
- ISO: Auto (100-6400)
- Focus mode: Servo
- Focus points: All (starting tracking on center point)
- Drive: High speed continuous
- AF on: With back of camera thumb button only
|Tawny Eagle (I think): 600mm @ 1/2000|
The significance of the last dot point is that I can use servo AF as you would normally use One Shot AF so I can focus and recompose without needing to keep the shutter half pressed, plus you are also always ready for it to move. In theory this is less accurate for stationary subjects than One Shot AF but I've found it to be good enough.
|Coyote in Yosemite: 273mm @ 1/500 on a tripod|
Aperture at f/8 is just because the lens is sharper there and you need a bit of extra DOF when using a long lens.
The main downside of shooting in manual is that you can't use exposure compensation (on my camera at least) therefore I'll sometimes switch of aperture priority or shutter priority when I need it.
Shutter speed, needs to be where you need it for the particular situation you are in. I mentioned it above in the settings and your practice will help you figure out your technique and what settings are possible for you. Here's some info on improving your handholding technique.
|Verreaux's Eagle-Owl + moon: Occasionally|
you get lucky 329mm @ 1/80 (braced
against safari truck.)
Dust, it is the enemy of your camera equipment and my lens ended up with quite a bit of it inside and out after game drives. So what can you do? Firstly, bring an air blower so you don't have to use the lens cloth quite as much, obviously keep your lens cloth handy because you will need it quite a lot (and if you don't usually use a UV filter, this might be a good time to make an exception). Be quick when changing lenses to keep it off your sensor but it might also be worth investing in a sensor cleaning system. I survived without but I would have picked up a Sensor Gel cleaner if I'd had the chance. Most cameras have an ultrasonic or electrostatic type of system to help get the dust off (and I've seen it work wonders) but you don't want to rely on it in a dusty environment. One other thing I picked up reading Moose Peterson's safari blogs was to have a towel/cloth to cover you camera when not shooting.
|African Fishing Eagle: 600mm @ 1/500 on a tripod on a drifting |
barge. Not extreme but slower than I can typically hand hold.
Processing & WorkflowI use Adobe Lightroom to catalog and process all my photos, what I actually do varies greatly depending on the photograph but I use but the clarity slide along with the sharpness and noise reduction section are visited with almost every wildlife photo. These are very helpful in bringing out the details like hair and feathers.
|Bison in Yellowstone: 213mm @1/800|